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In latest commutations round, Obama commutes 111 sentences

Californians might be interested in learning that President Obama recently commuted the sentences of 111 more federal prisoners. The most recent round of commutations occurred on Aug. 30, bringing the total number of inmates who have received commutations since Obama took office to 673 people.

The president has repeatedly called for sentencing reform in the nation's prisons and courts. He has now awarded more commutations than the past 10 presidents combined. Obama has concentrated on granting commutations to nonviolent drug offenders, some of whom were facing life imprisonment.

In 1980, there were about 25,000 people in prison in the U.S. With increasingly harsh sentences for drug offenses in the past several decades, the prison population has swelled to more than 200,000 people. Proposed criminal reform legislation is currently stalled in Congress because of the recent mass shootings and police killings. Republicans who are opposed to criminal justice reform argue that it would increase crime and endanger the police.

Certain drug offenses, such as drug trafficking, are treated very harshly by both the state and federal courts. Individuals who are facing such charges may want to get help from a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in handling drug crimes cases. A lawyer might be able to negotiate favorable pleas to lesser charges, capped sentences or alternative sentences to incarceration. Depending on the relevant facts, an attorney might also be able to attack the constitutional validity of the search, stop and seizure in the client's case. A lawyer might file evidentiary motions in order to seek suppression of some or all of the evidence in a case against the client.

Source: PBS, "111 will be freed under Obama's latest commutation of nonviolent drug offenders," Kevin Freking, Aug. 30, 2016.

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